Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton has announced that she intends to double the fine for failing to stop at a school warden sign. This will see the fine increase from €80 to €160. The announcement comes as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána call on drivers to watch out for children as they return to school.
The appeal to share the roads safely with returning students was made at the launch of the RSA’s new online Learning Portal, a 3D road safety adventure ahead of the new school year. The online Learning Portal is aimed at educating primary and secondary school students on road safety in a fun, interactive and safe learning environment, accessible in the classroom and at home. The RSA wanted to move with changes so that they could continue to offer a first-class road safety learning experience for all students. The Learning Portal is a new virtual learning hub harnessing innovative technology.
The new virtual space showcases road safety topics including, the Safe Cross Code, seatbelts, distracted driving, the consequences of drink or drug driving, and speeding. Its a secure online place where RSA educators can lead teachers and their pupils through a heightened learning portal. Casted as avatars the students are fully engaged in the vital road safety messaging they need to learn, while also stopping off to have fun in themed rooms where they can hang and meet up with close friends.
Speaking at the launch Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton said: “I recently announced the doubling of the fixed charge for key road traffic offences which are putting road users most at risk on our roads. As part of this I also intend to double the fine from €80 to €160 for drivers who fail to stop at a school warden sign. I anticipate this new measure to be in place in the very near future. School wardens are vulnerable road workers. Their job is to keep children safe. But to do this they put themselves at risk every time they step onto the road. They work on all sorts of roads from national routes to small local roads and at times of the day that sees the heaviest traffic. They deserve our respect and a safe working environment. Slow down when in the vicinity of schools, watch out for children and school wardens. Most importantly always heed their directions to stop.”
Mr Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said: “We are very excited about the launch of our new online Learning Portal Play this video. which will educate children about road safety in a fun and interactive environment using innovative technology. A priority intervention area in the Government’s Road Safety Strategy is ‘Safe Road Use’, so our aim with this new online virtual experience is to instil good road safety habits and knowledge at an early age, for life learning. I also want to remind school principals and staff of our guidelines for improving road safety around schools. The guidelines will aid them in the development and implementation of a road safety action plan to identify and manage risk at the school’s entrance. The guidelines are available on RSA.ie.”
Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána commented: “With children returning to school over the coming days and weeks, we can expect increased traffic volumes on our roads, especially around schools. I would ask that all parents remind children about road safety and take extra care when dropping or collecting children from schools. I would also ask that all road users be extra vigilant when driving near schools and school wardens. We want all our children to return to school safely.”
Drivers are being reminded that there will be a significant increase in school-going traffic in the coming days. They should also expect to see a rise in the number of children using ‘active modes’ of transport such as cycling, walking or scooting to get to school.
To date in 2022, a total of 105 people have died on Irish roads, 17 more than the same period in 2021.
The RSA’s guidelines for ‘Improving Road Safety Around Schools’ are available here.
Ireland’s fifth government Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by 50% over the next 10 years. This means reducing deaths on Ireland’s roads annually from 144 to 72 or lower and reducing serious injuries from 1,259 to 630 or lower by 2030.
The strategy is the first step in achieving the 2020 Programme for Government commitment of bringing Ireland to ‘Vision Zero’. This is to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by the year 2050.